The IoT Frontier: As Seen In Trade Shows

By Lucas Lowden, Research Director

As professionals, we often hear about expanding our horizons. How frequently do we actually do so? In reality, not very often. We get comfortable, and, we are experts at what we do anyway, right?

Commercial Vehicles. Fleets. Construction Equipment. I’ve done plenty of research projects with these professionals.

Big Data. Internet of Things. I’ve heard plenty about these concepts, and do work with a lot of data.

Now put all those ingredients into a pot and distill them into something useful for professionals in those industries?  That’s a different kind of problem. It requires new tools. New skills. A new way of thinking. A new understanding.

Truthfully, everyone’s reality is different and being made uncomfortable is not easy for most.

The last two years of my career have been a whirlwind of discomfort for me. And I’ve loved every minute of it. Learning, growing, helping – each in parallel with teammates and partners alike. In establishing a data-driven mindset we’ve embraced a new way of thinking to get to a new understanding. It’s been incredible!

It’s now late into 2017, and I recently attended the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, NTEA Executive Leadership Summit, and EquipmentWatch’s Traction 2017 show.

Interacting with fleet and equipment professionals at the trade shows forced me to personally broaden my horizons, and embrace the pain points that may make those professionals uncomfortable. I quickly realized that my reality as a Market Research professional differs greatly from that of a Fleet Manager or an Equipment Manager.

Which brings me to the first theme that became apparent to me.

Theme 1: Big Data Is A Big Deal, Getting Bigger With IoT

Let’s start with something that most industries in existence are familiar with – Data. Data. Data.

Data has long been available from an enterprise perspective – financial data, employee data, customer data, and transaction data, among others. Most have utilized each source of data independently for their own practical, everyday needs. Some have integrated the data for a broader application.

Operational data is becoming much more prevalent today – passive data coming in from sensors integrated with all types of equipment and applications used to conduct our everyday business and in our personal lives.

With the IoT I expect the growth curve of data to be an exponential factor the likes of which we may have never seen before. I’ve heard the term 4th Industrial Revolution thrown about. I’m not totally sold on that scope just yet, but it seems more possible than not from my perspective.

Getting the data is often not terribly difficult. Making sense of it is slightly more difficult. Harnessing the power held in these disparate data sources? Broad success stories are far and few between.

So how do we get past this hurdle?

Theme 2: Integration Is Key

Everyone has data. Few have truly harnessed the power of integrating their data to the extent it could be today.

To use an example from a long haul transportation perspective, integrating truck telematics data can give you the amount of fuel burned while a tractor is idling. Layer contextual feedback from a driver survey to understand the idle situation to deem an idle event necessary or unnecessary from a business perspective. Lastly layering that with fuel spend, and you can see how much money lost due to unnecessary idling.

There are lots of high quality solutions in the burgeoning market that provide services around the IOT ecosystem – telematics hardware, internal/external CRM, database architecture, reporting dashboards. As of yet, not many have fully embraced data integration.

That doesn’t even get into what I feel like is the next technology wave of data integration– blockchain. That’s a whole topic in its own right, so will save this for a later post.

For small to midsize organizations this highlights a challenge – they often don’t have the time available or skill set needed to integrate their own data across platforms.

Ultimately, baby steps are critical to integration efforts. Partner. Discuss. Get smarter. Get better. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Integration of data and systems is a natural progression to the final theme.

Theme 3: Any IoT Solution Has To Be Easy To Use

The integration of data at the business level leads to a “what’s next?” question of sorts.

Sometimes, a reporting dashboard can be a solution. For others, it’s an app delivering their data and insights.

Any solution in this space needs to be data-driven and actionable to be most useful and effective for industry executives.

It also needs to be simple and easy to use. Time is money.  Difficult to use and hard to understand solutions cost a company more time and more money.

Currently I’m contributing to a data-driven solution that delivers descriptive dashboards and actionable light-prescriptive reports that, with ongoing interaction, can develop into full predictive and prescriptive systems.

From my perspective, full prescriptive and predictive analytics come with nothing more than time and data pumped into the appropriate systems. Those claiming the ability to do so already are quite far ahead of the curve.

Recap & Conclusion

To work through these steps requires some keen self-awareness and the desire to embrace a data-driven decision making approach around business and competitive intelligence.

In each case, we get there one way – by data.

New technologies are allowing data to be brought in, analyzed, and presented to stakeholders in ways never before imagined.

Doing so represents a whole new batch of challenges at the same time.

Do we have the time? Do we have the people? Do we have the money?

Yes. Yes. Yes. You have to.

If you answer “yes” to all the above then you’re golden. If you don’t answer “yes, I do internally” to all the above that’s ok too. One way to shorten your timeline is to say “yes, I do by partnerships”.

The risk of not saying “yes” and taking action in this new frontier is potentially greater than taking action and failing, but still learning along the way.


Tactics For Humanizing Data From Connected Devices and IoT To Drive Business Outcomes

By Lucas Lowden, Research Director

Connected devices. Automation. Machine learning. Artificial intelligence.

Just a few short years ago, we would’ve thought we were watching a science fiction movie.

There is much discussion around these technologies – and for good reason! Each are critical components of scalable Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Today, it is the reality of our day jobs. With the support of various functions across the organization, we are actively establishing Morpace’s thought leadership and positioning for what we believe will be the future of the market research industry.

In support of these technologies, the importance of the human element should not be discounted.

There are numerous human interactions that provide crucial inputs to enable successful automation of machine processes. Doing so allows for a broader understanding and application of big data to produce actionable insights for business outcomes.

With several years growing in this space, we have developed a passion about leveraging big data and IoT systems. We have also realized the importance of Big Context – the intersection of man and machine that layers contextual understanding and lends business meaning to these massive data systems.

Are you leveraging Big Context in your business? Are you finding the humanity within your organization’s data?

Join the Strategists on Morpace’s Growth & Innovation Team – Jason Mantel (Sr. VP), Dania Rich-Spencer (VP), and myself, Lucas Lowden (Research Director) – for our webinar from Qualtrics’ Experience Week, Big Context: Humanizing Big Data From Connected Devices” and learn about tactics for driving positive business outcomes. To sign up and view our webinar, click here.

In the webinar, we explore the tenants of Big Context and how we have proven the importance of the human element and answering the question “Why?” for an automotive manufacturer and a transportation & logistics fleet.

We encourage you to reach out to us directly for any questions or further discussion around humanizing your organizations’ data at information@morpace.com.



Commercial Vehicles: New Platform = New Insights

Commercial Vehicles: New Platform=New Insights

By: Michael Schmall, Vice President; Sara Beauchaine, Marketing Associate

What if you had access to information about commercial vehicles including classes, makes, models, and engines from multiple industry sources?

Think about what you’d discover with this detailed information! New doors would open. You’d have the capability of anticipating what future commercial vehicle products should include and how they should be re-engineered. Critical customer needs and satisfaction issues could be resolved. Brand concepts could be strengthened. Smarter companies could be developed.

Sounds impossible, right? The commercial vehicle sector is too disconnected.

Think again.

The newest platform in our toolbox of syndicated and proprietary products is CVIS, and it stands for “Commercial Vehicle Information System”. It’s a great solution that we’ve developed over the course of the last year, and it offers the answer to the commercial vehicle industry’s frequently encountered challenge of obscurity and disconnect. It eliminates the mystery between those developing the next generation of  commercial vehicles, and those who actually use them.

How does it work?

The Commercial Vehicle Information System (CVIS) platform is a series of syndicated products built on millions of telematics data points (including information from VINs!) from hundreds of thousands of trucks on the road. It utilizes complex information consolidation techniques from surveys and other databases to provide this information to interested parties.

This platform has the ability to see how commercial vehicles are being driven, where they are being driven, which ones are actually being used, and even operation time. In addition, Morpace has developed processes to gain insights into commercial vehicle body type information, which is also part of the CVIS platform. The amount of knowledge and insights it provides is really exciting!

From conception to actualization

How CVIS started is a long story and it has a very dynamic background, but let me make it quick. It all started last year when a colleague and I attended the Mid-America Trucking Show of 2015. We were struck by the mass amounts of information that the exhibiting companies generated through their telematics systems, and we thought: They must have A LOT of data. What can we do with it?

After months of tracking down contacts, seeing what we could build with the millions upon millions of data pieces, investigating how it could be supplemented with other information, and exploring what products could be derived from all this, we came up with CVIS. Let’s just say it’s been a long road!

Incredible new insights are unleashed

We already have customers asking for proposals, and we’re excited to share this truck-load of information with them. They’re going to benefit from robust, quantitative analysis possibilities and data that is measured in terabytes (but useable because of our sophisticated data delivery systems), along with an incredible competitive advantage. They’ll be able to access current results and usage patterns of vehicles on the road, which enables them to display forward-thinking expertise, from product design to development strategies. We can also give comprehensive reports and additional analysis on all this data. In fact, the newest related product lines are our Efficiency Metrics Reports, which focus on important topics such as idle time, braking performance, downtime evaluation, fuel efficiency and QRD (quality, reliability, and durability) analysis.

To sum it up: If you understand how people are using commercial vehicles—which now you can with CVIS—then you can enjoy a win/win situation. You’ll be smarter—and a smarter company provides what its customers need—which in turn creates happy customers.

Check out our website for more information and to download the factsheet.